Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are right around the corner and you are out of ideas for what to get all of your favorite people, right? We have suggestions for young and old alike, and every single gift idea is something located right here in Evanston.
The RoundTable tried to visit as many shops as possible, but we could not visit every store. But that does not mean you need to miss them. Explore all the wonderful people and places there are throughout Evanston. Shopping locally is so important, especially this year.
Befriend those overworked sales clerks. Every person we spoke to was brimming with ideas! Like a good waiter at a fine restaurant, most sales clerks are eager to guide you, suggest options you may not have considered and make sure you have a great experience. Trust them, and have fun finding the perfect gift.
A partridge in a pear tree
Squeezebox Books and Music (743 Main St.) has a gently used copy of The Partridge Family’s classic ’70s album Up to Date for $6.
Gallery 1925 (1925 Central St.), has an ancient, one of a kind (at least in Evanston) Persian pear of abundance from a wish fulfilling tree for $168. This could be the perfect decorative item for the most discerning person on your list.
It’s not the season for pear trees (except in the 12 Days of Christmas), but at Plant Shop Evanston (1549 Sherman Ave.), this fiddle leaf fig tree is available for $52.
Craving pears? Hoosier Mama Pie Company (749 Chicago Ave.) offers a Pear-Apple-Cranberry with walnut crumble pie for $34. Comfort Desserts Reimagined (517 Dempster St.) has created a delectable Pear Prisonnière dessert for $5.70.
Old Town Oil (1924 Central St.) has two types of balsamic vinegar made with pears, Cinnamon Pear and Pear White. Each is $17.95 for 375 ml.
Beer on Central (1930 Central St.) sells Prickly Pear Margarita partisan ale, four cans, 12 ounces each, for $14.99 or $5 each.
Two turtle doves
Turtles are made with caramel, pecans and chocolate. We found delicious options at Noir d’Ébène Chocolat et Pâtisserie (1309 Chicago Ave.) and Belgian Chocolatier Piron (509-A Main St.). Both stores are packed with festive and delicious gift ideas. Prices vary based on quantity and item.
For the crafty folks on your list, Evanston Stitchworks (906 Sherman Ave.) offers several embroidery kits for $30.50 each. Three relevant options feature a partridge, turtle doves and a hen. There is a kit to make felt decorations for all 12 days of Christmas for $14. Owner Amalia Malos also offers classes in a variety of stitching arts.
The Needle’s Excellency (1630 Central St.) has a lovely needlepoint design with doves for $165 plus materials.
Three French hens
Which came first, the hens or the eggs? Homestead Meats (1305 Chicago Ave.) offers chicken eggs ($6.99 a dozen) and duck eggs ($7.99 per half dozen) from “locally-sourced, family-owned, sustainable Midwestern farms.”
France is not locally sourced, but Pâtisserie Coralie (600 Davis St.) is! For as long as you sit at one of their tables and enjoy a beverage and a treat, you will feel like you are in France. Try the pastry named Paris on My Lips.
Four calling birds
For the true avian lover, join the Evanston North Shore Bird Club. Membership prices vary ($15-$50) based on age and whether it is for a family or an individual. Activities are planned for 2023 and volunteers are needed to help take care of the Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary. Gift giving and do-gooding in the same gift!
Children who are fans of birds will enjoy a birthday party at the Evanston Ecology Center (2024 N. McCormick Blvd.) titled “Birds of a Feather.” Activities include “looking at feathers, nests, and eggs, looking for birds outside, and making a bird craft to take home!,” according to the center’s website.
Comix Revolution (606 Davis St.) has two hilarious bird books that will delight the jokesters on your list. The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America by Matt Kracht and Effin’ Birds: A Field Guide to Identification by Aaron Reynolds will provide the snark you want and didn’t know you needed.
Five golden rings
Gold rings means doughnuts! DB3 Donuts (1704 Central St.) offers basic, fancy and doughnut letters in a variety of flavors. Tag’s Bakery (2010 Central St.) and Bennison’s Bakery (1000 Davis St.) also offer homemade doughnuts to start off your holiday on a deliciously sweet note.
Or for the cyclist on your list, Wheel & Sprocket (1027 Davis St.) has a selection of AXA and Kryptonite brand ring locks starting around $38. And check out the variety of cleverly designed ringer bells made by Electra starting at $10.99.
And if you want a beautiful ring for your special someone, there are at least four jewelers in southeast Evanston who are sure to satisfy your design needs. Check out Virag Jewelers (703 Main St.), Cottage Jewelry (530 Dempster St.), Christopher Duquet Fine Jewelry Design (1224 Chicago Ave.) and Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio (623 Grove St.). Each jeweler offers custom design options.
Six geese a-laying
See French hens, above. Why, oh why do six (!) items on this list involve birds?
Seven swans a-swimming
Marie Parie Boutique (508 Main St.) has two vintage swans ($22 and $16) that are perfect for tchotchkes or rings or earrings.
Go to a Northwestern swim and diving meet! They are a fun and free family activity. The Northwestern men and women’s swimming and diving teams compete at Northwestern’s Norris Aquatics Center (2311 Campus Dr.). There are two meets in January: Jan. 7 against Miami Ohio and Jan. 27 and 28 against Purdue, Iowa and Minnesota. Bring your kids and let them cheer for the home team.
Eight maids a-milking
The Alchemist’s Wife (917 Chicago Ave.) offers a lovely selection of yummy-smelling body care products, soaps, shaving items and natural cleaning items – including a few made with oat milk. Prices vary.
Beaders will enjoy working with strands of old and exotic beads made from cow bones at Ayla’s Originals (1511 Sherman Ave.)
Nine ladies dancing
Stumble & Relish (1312 Chicago Ave.) has a fantastic assortment of locally inspired gifts. Here are two Christmas ornaments with beautiful dancers: a singular dancer ($17) and an orb with seasonal decorations ($22).
Lake Shore Dance Academy (915 Foster St.) offers private, group and wedding dance lessons for adults. Prices vary.
Ten lords a-leaping
Learn to leap, do aerial arts, contort, do handstands, circus fitness and more at The Actors Gymnasium (927 Noyes St.). Classes are available for children and adults, prices vary. Classes using the pilates jumpboard are also available at Club Pilates Evanston (745 Chicago Ave.). Prices vary based on membership level.
For your young lords and lasses in training, check out The Imaginary Game (Ridgeville and James Park). Kids 8 to 14 who participate are obsessed with it and founder John Dalton is a marvel. Your kids will leap, run, learn, laugh, scream and have a blast. And not an electronic device in sight.
Eleven pipers piping
The Musical Offering (743 Custer St.) offers flute and woodwind lessons. Prices vary based on teacher and size of class. Music Institute of Chicago (1702 Sherman Ave.) offers Suzuki flute lessons, $339, and other instrumental lessons as well.
Ten Thousand Villages (915 Chicago Ave.) offers an equitably produced Andean children’s pan flute for $12.99. They also have a tremendous and varied array of Christmas ornaments, including these festive flamingos for $14.99.
Twelve drummers drumming
Tony Toneji Garett offers group and private instruction on a variety of drums beyond the traditional drum kit, including djembe, djundjun, talking drum, ashiko, conga, bongo and handheld percussion instruments. Private and group lessons are available by the hour. He is based at the Evanston Art Makers Outpost (609 South Blvd.). Classes are available for all ages, no experience needed; drum ownership is not required.
Northwestern’s Percussion Ensemble will hold their next concert Feb. 16 with She-e Wu, director, and Steven Schick, guest percussionist and conductor. Location is Pick-Staiger Concert Hall (50 Arts Circle Dr.) and tickets are $6.
Northwestern’s Kindermusik (70 Arts Circle Dr.) has programs for 4 and 5 year olds with themes including Feel the Music, Drums, Drums, Drums and Sing a Story. Classes last 15 weeks, $335, parent or caregiver required to attend with child.
Note: Prices are accurate as of Dec. 9, based on in-person visits or website research; sales tax is not included. Each store has plenty of holiday gift items available at various price points even if an item listed here is no longer in stock.